Pajeon is a savory Korean-style pancake made with scallions. Pa means scallion, and jeon means pan-fried battered food. The most popular variation of pajeon is haemul pajeon, which is made with seafood (usually a combination of squid, shrimp, mussels, oysters and clams). It is one of Koreans’ all-time favorite snacks or appetizers to share when gathered around the table with friends and family. Everybody always loves it. In a recent trip to U.S., the first lady of Korea, Kim Yoon-ok, engaged in some ‘culinary diplomacy’ by cooking haemul pajeon for American veterans of the Korean War and their families in the suburbs of New York. She told a New York Times reporter: “I wanted to give [the veterans] a new taste of Korea as something positive and delicious.”
1 cup of seafood diced into small pieces
(a mix of squid, shrimp, mussels, oysters, clams or any other preferred seafood)
1 bunch of scallions cut into 4 inch long piece
(buy thin ones or half them lengthwise)
1 red chili pepper thinly sliced – optional
1 green chili pepper thinly sliced – optional
1 cup flour*
¼ cup rice (or sweet rice) powder*
1 tablespoon potato or corn starch*
1 teaspoon baking powder*
1½ cup icy cold water
1 egg lightly beaten
1 teaspoon garlic minced
½ teaspoon ginger finely minced (or juiced)
(you can also use garlic/ginger/onion powder to flavor)
Salt (about 1 teaspoon) and pepper to season
* You can also use 1 ¼ cup of ready made Korean pancake mix (buchim garu) sold in Korean markets, which already includes these ingredients and other seasonings. The ready made mix is commonly used in Korean home cooking. If using, do not add salt.
In a large bowl, combine all the dry batter ingredients first, stir in water and egg and mix lightly. (For crispy pajeon, the batter should be thin.)
Mix in all other ingredients.
Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat, ladle the mixture into the pan and spread it evenly into a thin round shape. Cook until the bottom is golden brown (3 – 4 minutes) and turn it over, adding more oil, press it down with a spatula, and cook for another 3 – 4 minutes. Repeat the process until there is no remaining mixture. Serve hot off the pan with dipping sauce.
See my Mandu (Korean Dumplings) recipe for sauce.